After purchasing Logan Square’s former Hollander Storage building last year, Chicago developer GW Properties has unveiled its plan to revive the five-story, 100-year-old brick structure. Though its location along the booming Milwaukee Avenue corridor and CTA Blue Line might seem like a natural fit for transit-oriented apartments, the company has decided to keep the property commercial.
“Most of the newer projects in the area have been residential, but this site is unique because of the existing building,” Mitch Goltz of GW Properties tells Curbed Chicago. “We could have added another 40 apartment units to the neighborhood, but we realized that no one was going to build a new construction office building of this size in Logan Square. So it made a sense to go with a commercial project.”
Goltz envisions a variety of uses including office, restaurant, retail, coworking, and “co-making” workshops geared toward artists and small businesses. The project, he hopes, will attract the kind of tenants that would otherwise look at Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, and the West Loop.
The Hollander site at 2418 N. Milwaukee Avenue is within the city’s Affordable Requirement Ordinance (ARO) pilot zone which requires a higher percentage of affordable housing for residential projects. Goltz admitted the latest ARO rules make apartment development more difficult, but it was not the driving force behind the choice to not pursue residences.
“The building has been commercial for 100 years, and we feel it is a good contender to stay commercial for another 100,” says the developer. GW is working with NORR Architects to ensure that the integrity of the existing structure remains intact during the planned renovation. “I believe we’ve done a nice job of paying homage to the old building while adding new life to the area.”
The estimated $20 million redevelopment of the Hollander (which is not to be confused with a Wicker Park hostel by the same name) will require city approval. A zoning change is needed to demolish and replace the single-story annex with a new addition. Parking requirements would be reduced to about 20 on-site spaces, mainly serving building employees.
Golz says his company will continue to meet with the community and 1st Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata. The developer plans to hold at least one large community meeting to discuss the project before filing its zoning application with the city, Block Club Chicago reports.
In the meantime, GW is working to lineup commercial users and finalize a deal with an unnamed “lifestyle” anchor tenant that will provide a combination of coworking space, a cafe, and specialty fitness such as rock climbing. Provided approvals move forward, construction could begin in early 2020.